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Viva El Paso set to reopen this weekend

The show will go on! After a year of restructuring and revamping, Viva El Paso will once again hit the stage. Under the community foundation’s guidance, Viva El Paso is set to revive starting Friday.

“Well, the production’s happening,” said Eric Pearson, president of the El Paso Community Foundation. “That’s the most important part. Viva El Paso took a year hiatus, and it has been a really good time for us to look at what the show had and to develop some partnerships with UTEP and El Paso Live to present the show in a new format that is a little more akin to what it was in 1978 when it started.”

The local history musical pageant ran into trouble last year when its parent organization the El Paso Association for the Performing Arts ran into accounting trouble and ultimately dissolved.

The community foundation stepped in, and the reborn production stands on the cusp of re-opening.

Chuck Gorden is the director of the new Viva, and the head of directing at the University of Texas El Paso. He’s been working on the agreements and production of the show since the start of this year, doing things like tightening up the story.

“We’ve also added a couple of numbers,” Gorden said. “We’ve added a ‘La Llorona’ number that’s in the show now, so that’s kind of fun.”

For the cast members like Vanessa Keyser who will play the narrator abuela, it’s an exciting opportunity to revive an El Paso tradition.

“With the amazing natural backdrop,” Keyser said, “a beautiful show that weaves itself into the backdrop of the mountains and also bring you into the story.”

The show opens this friday and will be running through August.

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